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Selecting the Best of Public Schools b y B i l l T . W i l s o n II , F A I A

A w a r d s

As a juror for the 2010 Exhibit of School Architecture sponsored by the Texas Association of School Administrators and the Texas Association of School Boards (with support from the Texas Society of Architects), I spent the better part of a week in July studying the latest work of some of my fellow Texas architects. The experience renewed my appreciation of the range of educational design being built across our state and the lasting impact that educators, administrators, policymakers, and, of course, architects can have in shaping the spaces and places where we educate our children. The construction of public education facilities in Texas has a significant economic impact in our state. The 99 projects submitted for the competition represent a public investment of over $2.25 billion. Each year, the TASA/TASB competition is juried by a panel comprised of two school board members, two school administrators, and two architects. Joining me on this year’s jury were Gary Griffith, AIA; Mike Smith, recently retired New Braunfels ISD school administrator; Alton Frailey, superintendent of Katy ISD; Richard Chambers, board president of Snyder ISD; and Vernagene Mott, a board member of Pflugerville ISD. Lee Burch, AIA, was an alternate juror. Serving as facilitator for the jury was Tim McClure, AIA, who was assisted by TASB staffers Laurie Korn and Jennifer Bartosh. The jury recognized five projects for overall design excellence. The jury evaluated all the entries in six categories (value, process of planning, design, educational appropriateness, innovation, and sustainability), with each of the top five winners receiving the highest marks in all six areas under consideration. These five projects, profiled on the following pages, reflect the best work of many creative leaders within our public education system. It is no small task to navigate the process of a public school construction program. Perhaps no other area of government is more directly accountable and accessible to the taxpayers which it serves, and rightly so. Just as we owe every child the opportunity for the best possible education, we also owe them the very best schools that we can build. Bill T. Wilson II, FAIA, is a principal and studio director with WKMC Architects in Corpus Christi.



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Texas Architect 2011 Jan/Feb: Education